What is your film of choice?

Light, film, exposure..
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Alastair Moore
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What is your film of choice?

Postby Alastair Moore » 05 May 2013, 21:12

Current or otherwise? Are you trying out something new or sticking to what you've been using for decades? Do you concentrate on a single film or have a few you like to work with?

I guess I've been battling with Fomapan since I bought it (although all my shots with Foma 400 on my 8x10 have turned out great!) so going back to Tmax 100 which I've had fairly consistent results with. But as I hear good things about Acros, and cheapshots.au on eBay had a box for cheap, I'm going to check it out and see if I like it.

I sort of feel like I'm starting afresh as I've been using Foma 100 for quite some time now. I've been trying to figure out if it's my developing or my metering which is at fault as I'm sure the problem lies with me not the film. But anyway, either Tmax is more forgiving or I just happened to have a run of bad luck with Foma, I'm moving on.

I shall be going to Vanbar tomorrow to pick up a couple of new developers (thinking Ultrafin Plus and Ilfotec HC) and plan to spend much of this week experimenting with Tmax and those developers plus my regular D76.

Walter Glover
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Re: What is your film of choice?

Postby Walter Glover » 05 May 2013, 22:16

It is really about what's best out of what's left.

In the days of yore I had great experiences with Agfa Pan 25 and 400 souped in Rodinal. Those films were discontinued many moos ago and I doubt that the present iterations are similar to the originals.

I love Fuji Acros but in Australia it was only around as 35mm and 120 except for rare and diminutive special orders.

The T-Max films - 100 and 400 - have served me well. I got given a shitload of T-Max 100 Readyloads which I have been blazing a trail through and I buy T-Max 400 for my studio nudes. I primarily process my T-Max with the repeatable exactitude of T-Max RS 1+9 (sometimes Xtol 1+1) in a Jobo. I don't mind these emulsions but they get awfully close to the bland perfection of digital capture. There may have been a time when I considered this a better thing than I do now.

For some time now, my preferred emulsions are FP4+ and HP5+. They have distinctive character and are very different to each other. Back when I shot 10x8 for contact printing I found that HP5+ was simply divine. Smooth and vintage looking. In 4x5 and 120 FP4+ is my preference. The characteristic curve gives a treatment to the toe and shoulder of the curve which i find totally delightful. For an extensive project shot in the UK I used Delta 100 and souped it in Ilford's Ilfotec DDX 1+6. In retrospect I wish I had used FP4+.

A sensational developer for both FP4+ and Fuji Acros is Diafine. I'd use it for sheet film but I am too lazy to handle a tank with 3 litres of fluid in it. For roll film it is bloody perfection. Diafine is a two-bath compensating developer that gives a slight speed increase.

I have never been a fan of D-76 or ID-11 or HC-110. I used too much of them commercially for them to impress me at all.
Walter Glover

"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi

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Re: What is your film of choice?

Postby Lachlan717 » 06 May 2013, 06:11

For 7x17, I use Efke 100 (last 2 boxes, bugger it), HP5+ and will be getting some FP4+ in the next Ilford ULF run.

For 4x5, I use the last of my Efke 25 (portraits), 50 (landscapes), FP4+ (general) and Acros (long exposures).

I also use Acros and Ilford Pan 50 for 6x17.

One thing I've found: Acros is only semi-panchromatic, so orange and red filters don't get the same dark blue skies as, say, the FP4+.

All developed in Tetenal Ultrafin (1:20 one shot. No way I can be bothered with anything other than one shot). You can use it at 1:10, 1:20 and 1:30. I use it at 1:20 as it was initially the lowest dilution that had adequate information on Massive Dev.

If you aren't aware of divided development, look it up. There's a good thread on LFPF ("In praise of divided Pyrocat", I think. Ken Lee's a big fan of it).

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Re: What is your film of choice?

Postby Maris » 06 May 2013, 19:17

Lately most of my large format negatives have been Fomapan 400 or Freestyle Arista EDU Ultra 400 which is the same thing. At A$2.75 landed cost for an 8x10 sheet I can't complain. Driving to premium landscape locations and organising accommodation costs way more than the film.

One of the pleasures of large format photography is that it's been years since I've been bothered by photographic grain or limited sharpness or choppy tonal rendition. I reckon any big film properly exposed and faithfully developed is as good as any other in recording full spatial and photometric information about subject matter. That's all a negative is good for anyway. The real pay-off is the photograph made from that negative and that's another bunch of skills and considerations. There's not enough practical difference between Fomapan 400 ($) and Ilford HP5+ ($$$) to warrant the extra spend.

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